Col. Lalit Rai, VrC
MD, Arcanum Consulting LLC
Good evening everybody. I am an Army officer and I have commanded my troops in battle and I have fought many battles and I do not accept a very insipid good evening and hello. Well, I just witnessed a part of your annual sports day. Firstly, I am delighted to be here because when I see you all sitting down there biting your nails and watching who is going to win the relays, it transported me back to my days when we had that flow of adrenaline and seeing you all participating in races like this. That was splendid. What I noticed when I came here first was that your school has a nice big play ground and that augurs well for your school because I feel and always believe that any school which has a huge play ground is the right school to be in. Having said that, I was escorted by two young but very smart girls right up to this place. I was thrilled to see that pride and elan in them and their marching. Then I saw all of you in your march-past, absolutely meticulous in your timing you are marching proudly, excellent.
I was very thrilled to see a very high standard of drill and PT displays that I know takes a lot of hard work. I dare say, every action and activity that you have displayed today would have taken lot of practice and hard work and I compliment you all on this excellent show. Now, let me ask you a question- “What is that gold medal that you were running for made out of?” Can anyone tell me? what is it made of, everybody is saying gold but I think differently that gold medal that you are running after is actually made up of a lot of sweat, toil, determination, perseverance, hard work, preparation and above all one of the rarest, alloys which are found very rarely these days, it’s called guts, courage which I saw in plenty today.
Now, when I talk about all these qualities, I would like to tell you how when I was as a small kid, I used to take part in these sports and how it held me in good stead throughout my life. From the boxing ring, I learnt how I should stand up on my feet and fight my own battles because in the ring my father, mother, uncle, cousin, elder brother will not come to help me. I have to fight my own battle, right? This is the quality that has taught me. From the team games, I learnt that my strength is my team and the team is my strength because if we all work together we will win. And if there is dissonance, disagreement within the team, the team can never win. So, I learnt teamwork from that which helped me in good stead. So, these are the fine qualities that I learnt and picked up from the ground and play fields. Before I go on the other parts, here I would like to give a message to all the parents. While academics is very important no denying that but the other activities which you saw today is much more important because academics can still be picked up but this experiential learning that I see on the ground which displayed the sense of competitiveness, teamwork, how you boys were hugging each other etc. This you will never get. This important lesson of life you will never get anywhere else. And I would also urge the parents, please don’t make your children sissies by coming up and standing up for them, complaining about someone having ill-treated them or they being made to do too much PT etc. Let the child be, let him grow. If you want your child to become a man and a woman of substance let them play by the rules, let them learn the hard way and these hard knocks are the ones that are going to hold them in good stead later on in life like it did for me. As far as the teachers are concerned I am very happy to see that most of the teachers are in track suits because the children of today are much smarter, much more aware than what we were at their age at this point of time. They will not listen to what you say but they will definitely follow what you do. So please set an example. When you say “play games”, then please be in your tracksuit and play games with them.
Be an example to them, when you say don’t speak a lie, always speak the truth. Please ensure that you never utter anything which is close to other than truth in front of them and same goes for the parents. I think that is the guidance that you can give them which will hold them in good stead. Now coming to these qualities, how did it help me? The perseverance, the focus and the guts. First, let’s talk about the guts. (Shared Personal Experience of Battle Field). Finally, I must also add one quality. Firstly, in today’s world which is absolutely a very crying world, it’s a world where there are too many challenges and too many happenings. I want you all to promise me that you will follow these three things that I am going to talk to you about. The first thing is respect. Please learn to respect everyone, your father, friends, relatives, and teachers. Please learn to respect the other person. Learn to respect religion of other person. Learn to respect the ways of other people even if they are different from yours. This is one thing which is sadly reducing from our society today. Please learn the aspect of respecting people. All the other things and the qualities will come into place once you start respecting people.
The second one is compassion. Please show true compassion. Help each other. Always help each other and remember especially at this stage of your life when you are school children, don’t worry about other things. Make lot of friends. Today, I am so happy because when I have no one I have my closest friends who were from school and even in from the battle field after having spoken to wife and family, I spoke to all my friends. And I feel so happy that I have my lovely, good, absolute close friends even today. So this is the time. Don’t waste your time on other useless things. Make good friends, make good contact with people, learn to respect teachers. This is what I want to leave you with. And the last point, sense of humor. I always had the misfortune of having a rude boss. Whenever I used to say a perky “Good morning Sir” he would always look at me and say what is so good about the morning. So, I don’t want you to be human beings like that. I want you all to be cheerful and humorous. I will tell you one incident (Shared Battle Field Experience). So, I leave you all with this thought and give you lot of courage. Please make sure that you listen to what I have told you and practice this. And I leave you with just one anecdote, “I did not lose, I never lose, I never lost any match, I just ran out of time.”
Thank you Good night.